We’re in the middle of a medium sized bespoke programmed web solution (PHP/MySQL for the technically minded) developed in conjunction with another company, and it has highlighted a plea that we want to put out to all of you considering having somebody develop a custom web solution for you.
Specify, specify, specify!!!
We are in the unfortunate situation that the customer has waved their hands about a bit and though that was a good enough specification. Being one step removed from the client our intermediary has embellished this into something half reasonable, but it has left us making process decisions on behalf of the customer who hasn’t thought the actual process through fully: this is the process that they own – it is their business model. In particular ‘exceptional circumstances’ haven’t been considered at all. Such as what happens if customer X is partnered up with solution Y, but then solution Y is withdrawn by agent Z. Ideally we’d not have started on such a scanty brief, but circumstances forced our hand.
Don’t fall into the same trap: always specify very clearly what your process is: just in plain English with sketches etc.. it all helps. And don’t forget to include the ‘what if ‘ situations that can arise that are outside your normal flow. Doing this will mean a solution that delivers what you need, and means you are making up your own business process flow… not your web developer!